Causes and Prickly Heat Treatment Options
There are a number of prickly heat treatment options available (also
known as miliaria
or heat rash).
Since prickly heat involves the body's ability to regulate heat, the
first approach is always to move the patient in a cooler environment
with lower levels of humidity. In addition to moving the patient, there
are a number of home remedies and prescription treatment
options to try."
Causes of Prickly Heat Rash
To understand prickly heat treatment, you need to understand what
causes prickly heat rash in the first place. It gives you a place to
start when deciding what you want to do to take care of your rash.
The causes of prickly heat rash include the following:
- Heat, humidity and perspiration
- Plugged sweat ducts, or hair follicles, usually with staph
found on everybody’s skin
When you are suffering from plugged hair follicles or sweat
tiny, clear and water filled bumps form. If you burst those, they
deliver a painful sting, because of the salt that’s in your sweat.
Sweat also causes skin rashes, because it is an irritant.
Your rash may look like small bumps with pointed heads, clustered
around the base of the hair follicles. It may be pale pink or red. If
gets worse, before it gets better, you may wind up with hives, welts,
larger red bumps and an itch that won’t stop. Typically, prickly heat
rash appears just about anywhere, including the face, neck groin, back,
elbow folds, abdomen, buttocks and under breasts. Depending on where it
is located, you may wish to try various prickly heat treatments.
Prickly Heat Rash Picture
The following podcast from the Centers for Disease Control provides an
excellent overview of heat related diseases and conditions such as
Prickly Heat and Heat Rash.
Types of Prickly Heat
To know what kind of prickly heat treatment to use, you need to know
what layer of skin is affected. There are four categories of prickly
heat rash, and those categories are:
crystalline: no rash, just tiny blisters, may be minor
- Miliaria rubra:
most common, where sweat leaks into deeper layers of
the skin. Itching, prickling sensation, no sweating in those areas.
Heat exhaustion possible.
profunda: severe form, causes severe burning sensation.
Blockage is buried deep in sweat gland, leaking into the deep layers of
skin. Risk of heat exhaustion very high.
pustulosa: pustules from bacterial infection. Risk of heat
exhaustion extremely high.
To know if you may be susceptible to prickly heat rash, it helps to
know who it affects most often, such as:
- Military troops
- Obese/overweight people
- Bedridden patients
- Those with decreased sweating
- Those with congenital absence of sweating
- People who workout in hot environments
- Kids under the age of 4-years-old
Prickly Heat Diagnosis
Prickly heat rash does go away on its own. If it doesn’t, call the
doctor, who will do a visual examination in combination with questions
about heat exposure.
If you have serious heat rash problems, the doctor may take a skin
culture, skin biopsy or examine skin scrapings under a microscope. They
may also test for eczema, fungal infections, allergy reactions and
Prickly Heat Treatment
There are many approaches that can bring relief during prickly heat
treatment. The goal is to keep the skin dry and cool. Powders
and antiperspirants are the first line of defense in addition to
staying out of the heat and humidity. The heat rash itself
can be treated with corticosteroid creams, although just moving to a
cool air conditioned environment is often enough.
Here's a list of common prickly heat treatment options:
- Stay hydrated, drink lots of water.
- Lower the ambient temperature in your surroundings.
- Wash your rash several times a day. Only use soap for
- Indulge in cool baths or showers.
- Place clean cotton cloth under skin folds to catch sweat.
- Don’t wear synthetic clothing. Stick with cotton.
- Use frozen peas or other vegetable packs or ice gel packs.
leave them longer than 10 minutes or you may get ice burn. Repeat when
- For moderate cases, hydrocortisone cream works well.
- For moderate to severe prickly heat rash, the doctor may
Triamcinolone acetonide, a synthetic corticosteroid.
- For a bacterial infection, your may need antibiotics based
type of infection you have.
- Antihistamines (Claritin or Benadryl) for the itch.
- Baby powder to help dry the skin.
- Antiperspirants to dry the skin’s surface.
- Calamine lotion.
- Stri-Dex Acne medicated sensitive skin pads with salicylic
- Salicylic acid.
- Menthol based creams.
- Camphor based creams.
- Topical creams with steroids.
- Aloe vera gel.
- Honey paste.
- Lavender essential oil.
- Cool oatmeal baths.
- Cool Epsom salts baths.
In addition to these prickly
remedies, it can be helpful to use a
product such as Skin
which is known to support the skin healing
for Prickly Heat Rash
Centers for Disease Control